Rat Race

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

rat-raceAs you awoke this morning, were you greeted with excitement because you have the opportunity to go out and use your time to serve the Lord? Perhaps it was to the contrary. In that, you were plagued with dread because you’re so inundated with debt that the majority of your time and schedule are dictated by someone who issues your paycheck?

Have you ever wondered if your current situation represents God’s original intention for your life? In essence, is God’s plan for your everyday life as complicated and taxing as it has become? It may even seem as though stopping to take a deep breath would cause everything to come tumbling down.

If the rat race is affecting your sanity and health, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals and objectives. As you take a serious inventory of your expenditures and do some deep soul searching, you may find that the pleasure you’re receiving from certain expenditures is not worth the measure of sanity and peace that you’re forfeiting.

Prayer

Lord, as I take an inventory of my expenditures, show me those things that are producing self-induced struggle and unrest in my life. Lord, grant me the strength to release those things so I can essentially buy back blocks of time to use for strategic planning sessions with You in order that I may attain the hopeful future You’ve pre-ordained for me.

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Renew Your Mind

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2 (NIV)

renew-your-mindHas a life circumstance or perhaps a succession of circumstances left you walking with an emotional limp, so to speak? You may be in perfect physical health but emotionally you’re a wreck. Deep down inside you may have even thought a time or two that you’d be better off if it were a physical ailment that is holding you back. In that, at least concessions are made in life for physical ailments.

You may have even arrived at a point where you feel that it is hopeless to recover from the emotional handicap. Perhaps you have even worked through a forgiveness process but even still, a trigger causes the hurt emotions to rears its ugly head and you relive the incident as though it were happening all over again.

If your attempts to work through the pain has rendered you hopeless, perhaps it is time to try a different approach. Renew your mind by engaging in a mental regression to the point previous of the negative experience. Meditate on the positive emotions that were present and allow them to write over the negative emotions that are plaguing your mind.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for giving me the ability to renew my mind daily. Help me to breathe deeply the air that was circulating, soak up the warmth of the sun’s rays that was beaming brightly and take in the sights and sounds that were present the day or season before the incident occurred that the enemy is trying to use to highjack my positive destiny.

 

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The Currency of Heaven

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. – Romans 10:17 (NIV)

currency-of-heavenDo you at times feel that your best efforts are not good enough? Perhaps you’ve exerted every bit of energy that you could possibly muster up. You’ve done all that you’re physically capable of doing in your own strength but even still, you’re not getting the results you desire.

Nevertheless, the absolute best place that we can arrive is at the end of ourselves, and the quicker the better. If we want to see a profound difference and be a difference maker, we must tap into a source that is so much larger than ourselves. Although strength, effort and money are very essential to accomplish most things, the currency of heaven is what we should strive to attain, above all else.

Faith is the vehicle that transports heavenly results down to earth. Faith is an absolute must if we want to see supernatural results. Since faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we must make it our lifelong pursuit to know the Word and believe that it is chock-full of truth from cover to cover, in order to get the most value out of this heavenly currency.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for providing the currency that activates heavenly results and serves as the rocket fuel to transport it to earth.

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Lover of Your Soul

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For just as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, yielding seed for the sower and bread for eating, so will my message be that goes out of my mouth—it won’t return to me empty. Instead, it will accomplish what I desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:9-11 (NIV)

lover-of-my-soulDo you find yourself questioning God? Perhaps you just exited a troubling season in life or are entering a season whereas, the outcome is not manifesting as you had planned. You may be wondering how anything good can emerge from this situation. You may also be wondering if God really cares about your pain.

The truth of the matter is that God really does care. In fact, He cares more about what you are going through than you could ever fathom. The place where we get tripped up is in our level of understanding of God’s thoughts and ways. Many times our response to circumstances exemplifies that we desire for the Lord to be the lover of our flesh, when in fact He is the lover of our soul. Our humanistic side desires an outcome that our minds and bodies consider to be pleasing to our five senses.

Nevertheless, although God cares about what’s pleasing to our flesh, His primary focus is our souls. Furthermore, He doesn’t just care about your individual soul but the soul of your spouse, co-worker, in-laws and even those who oppose you. Thus, even though the things we go through are very specific to us as individuals, the final outcome has more to do with how it will impact humanity as a whole and draw people to the Lord.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for being the lover of my soul. Help me to see my circumstance from Your vantage point so that I can die to the desires of the flesh and desire an outcome that will draw humanity to you.

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Thorn in the Flesh

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV)

grace-is-sufficientAre you struggling with a physical or emotional ailment or situation? Perhaps you pray every day for God to take it away but it seems as though your prayers are falling on deaf ears. You may even think that your quality of life and ability and effectiveness to serve God would be so much greater if He would only remove this.

One thing is certain, God hears your prayers. Your heavenly Father is madly in love with you. He definitely cares about all that you are going through. You are not alone in your struggle. As a matter of fact, Jesus is in heaven interceding on your behalf right now. As you are going about your day, Someone very special is serving as your advocate.

It may be hard to fathom why God has yet to remove this issue but His thoughts, ways and reasons are so much higher than we could possibly comprehend. It is imperative that we understand that even though God cares deeply for what we are enduring as individuals, we are all intricately connected and have a role in His grand upper story. Perhaps what You are dealing with has less to do with you and more to do with God using your circumstance in some unique way to draw people to Himself.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for hand-picking me to deal with what I’m going through. I praise You whether You decide to remove it or not. Either way, may my response to this situation be uplifting and draw many people to You.

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Peer Pressure

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

pressuredDo you feel as though you’re on a continuous performance based roller coaster? Perhaps at your workplace, home, among your circle of friends or even at church, people expect you to have things all figured out. You may be so seasoned at pretending whereas, on the outside you have a very polished and well put together look but on the inside you feel like a hot mess.

In the fast pace world in which we live, it’s quite common to feel intense external pressure. If the truth be told, quite frequently we find ourselves putting unrealistic expectations on those around us as well. We demand nothing less than a well thought out strategic plan that has every variable that could possibly arise taken into account.

Many times what we fail to acknowledge is that we only have as much insight into the future as God so chooses to reveals to us. Generally speaking, there are times that God purposefully withholds segments of information from us. His heartbeat is to keep us in a posture where we’re fully relying on Him. As we’re in need of direction and guidance, it prompts us to lean in closer to Him.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for illuminating my path and revealing Your strategic plan for my life, one step at a time. When others are demanding to know my future plans that You have yet to reveal to me, may I be able to confidently and boldly respond, “I don’t know what the future holds but I can walk in peace because I know the One who holds my bright future in the palm of His hands.”

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Don’t Curse Your Crisis…Use it for Good

For we are God’s masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life. – Ephesians 2:10 (ISV)

And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are working together for good. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that the Son might be the firstborn among many brothers. – Romans 8:28-29 (ISV)

Test into TestimonyDo you feel that your life has been a compilation of tests? You may be wondering if this will ever end. As you look back, you may notice that there is a common tread throughout. It may be a different scenario but typically it is always in line with the same theme. Perhaps for you, the seemingly endless trials involve finances or emotional wounds or severed relationships.

One thing is certain is that every living being was created by God to carry out a very specific assignment. Our individual purpose for existence was woven into our DNA so that every detail about our being is on point to carry out that assignment. Furthermore, the things that we go through has more to do with fulfilling our calling. God is not picking on us or abandoning us when we go through trials. He trusts us with the trials and has pre-planned our success over them. The succession of victories over our tests is what yields an effective testimony.

The truth of the matter is that the Word states that while we are residents on this earth we will have troubles. The encouraging news is that those trials don’t have to be endured in vain. We don’t have to allow them to go to waste. Come to think about it, if we have to go through them anyway, why not allow them to be used in a positive way for the overall good of humanity and in a way that points people to Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for allowing me to play a role in the overall work that You’re doing on this earth. As I endure hardship, help me to remember that my victory over trials is making an eternal difference in the lives of so many, some of whom I may never be made aware of on this side of heaven.

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Are You Good Enough?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)

Jesus Connects us to GodDid you do something lately that you’re not proud of? Perhaps those closest to you would agree with your sentiments. You may be plagued by racing thoughts that this incident is too far removed from God’s reach to cover your error with His grace. You may also be wondering if you could ever be good enough in order to earn God’s mercy and forgiveness.

As you recount your steps and analyze the error of your ways, you may feel a heavy sense of condemnation. For God’s children, it is important to remember that He convicts our conscience, not so that we’ll wallow in a state of depression but in order to prompt us to make an about face turn from the error of our ways. He does this so that we will return safely to the wide open space surrounded on all sides by healthy boundaries. Hence, those boundaries are put in place not as a restrictive measure but to give us long term success.

Furthermore, one of the best and most freeing experiences is to arrive at the understanding that we are indeed totally and completely helpless and hopeless of ever being good enough to connect ourselves to God. Jesus is the connective piece that intertwines perfectly with the Father and serves as our gateway to have constant access and fellowship with the One who absolutely adores our souls.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that Jesus’ perfection covers over a multitude of sins and keeps me in a right standing with You.

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Defying the Worldly Pull Toward Independence

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

declaration of dependenceIs time passing you by like a speeding freight train? Perhaps your mind is racing each evening as you attempt to lay your head to rest because there are so many things left undone. Perhaps you feel the adrenaline rush the minute you open your eyes in the morning; before you even begin your day, you are already pressed beyond measure to accomplish an unrealistic “to do” list.

Nevertheless, the world teaches that independence is a sign of great strength when in fact it takes far more strength to take time out and commune with the Lord when you are simultaneously being pressed on every side by those who are demanding results. The truth of the matter is that it’s actually a sign of arrogance to think that we are capable of accomplishing anything of true value apart from receiving guidance and instruction from the Lord.

The Lord wants to be our docking station whereas, we go out with a divine set of strategic instructions and after accomplishing those things that He has placed on our agenda, we return to our only true source who can factor in those things of old and the things yet to come in order to accomplish mighty things in His name and for His glory.

Prayer

Lord, thanks for desiring to be my strategic coach, guiding me through the process of accomplishing things of true Kingdom value. As the world runs around frantically trying to make things happen, I commit to bowing before You as humbly as I know how in order to receive and accomplish the agenda you have planned for me.

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Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Hugged by the WordAre you easily offended? Perhaps you have a preconceived notion of the way you expect others to treat you. Your demeanor may exude a subtle hint that you are tender-hearted so you’re in dire need for others to deal with you in a delicate manner.

Even though you may have a fixed mindset that others should automatically treat you favorably, due to your kind spirit, you still must refrain from placing that person on a pedestal. In that, you’re more than likely setting yourself up for a huge heartbreak.

Since offenses are like leaches that serve to drain the flow of life-giving blood, it is imperative that we don’t take offense because bitterness is in close proximity waiting to take root. Furthermore, we must be so wrapped up in the Word of God that the offense literally has no possible way to penetrate through and sabotage our emotions.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for providing Your Word to serve as an impenetrable shield to keep offenses from negatively affecting me.

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